Stop procrastinating and start making a change today!
Often during a psychology consultation patients will have key aspects of their life that they want to improve. In the area of health psychology and weight loss these behaviours include being more active, snacking less or eating more healthily. While most people understand what they need to do and why, they often need help doing it. Often, procrastination is their biggest enemy.
Below are five simple tips that will help you overcome procrastination and take you one step closer to your goal.
- Goal setting. Describe what you would like to achieve and be as precise as you can. Include the reason (value) behind it, such as "eat more healthy to improve my energy levels".
- Rephrase your goal into a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time. For example if you would like to improve your health by exercising, a SMART goal could be to "next Monday buy a membership to the gym next to work and go there twice a week after work for a 60 minute workout for the next four weeks." The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to achieve you SMART goal which is one small part of your overall plan.
- Have a clear and realistic start date. Determine exactly when your first gym session will occur. Prepare yourself as much as possible for this moment, for example make sure you are not hungry, that you leave work on time and that you have all the equipment and clothing you need.
- Reflect on your efforts. Starting is one thing, maintaining your new behaviours is another. To ensure you continue to reach your goals you need to reflect on them regularly. Take a moment at the end of your week to check whether you have achieved your weekly goal. If you did, give yourself a "pat on the back" and reflect on whether the goal was challenging enough and worth repeating or increasing the level of difficulty. If you didn't, ask yourself what happened and whether you set yourself an unrealistic goal or timed it incorrectly. Either way, learn from the experience and set new (SMART) goals for the next week.
- Write it down. Writing your goals a piece of paper or in your phone will help keep you accountable and facilitate accurate reflecting. Having goals written can also act as a reminder. If you are likely to forget your goal stick your it somewhere that you go regularly, for example on your bathroom mirror. Looking at goals regularly will help keep you focused.